More than half of the cases resulting from a state police surge in Albuquerque earlier this year have been dismissed.
According to KOAT, more than 50 New Mexico State Police officers were sent to Albuquerque for 59 days last summer as part of Operation Surge—an attempt to curb rising crime statistics. State police reportedly made around 200 felony arrests in the city and spent nearly $1 million on salaries and hotel accommodations for officers.
But according to reports, 52 percent of those cases were dismissed within four months. There were 19 cases that lacked evidence or paperwork, and prosecutors said there wasn’t enough evidence for an arrest in 27 cases. State Police officers failed to appear to testify in court on 13 cases. In 15 cases, prosecutors said more investigation was needed. In others, witnesses or victims reportedly didn't cooperate. And in one case, a suspect was never transported from jail to court.
State Police Chief Tim Johnson told reporters that he plans to refile charges in 49 of the cases with the district attorney. Most of the cases have a statue of limitations of five years.
Johnson said he will be investigating why his officers did not show up for court and turn in necessary evidence on time. “We will be holding those folks accountable for missing court,” Johnson said. “But most importantly I need to hold myself accountable.”
New CYFD Policy Raises Concerns
A proposed rule change by the Children, Youth, and Families Department (CYFD) to make fostering children easier is receiving criticism from some foster care advocates.
According to KOB, the proposed policy would make it easier for relatives of children in state custody to receive a license to foster those children. Deputy Public Information Officer Charlie Moore-Pabst told reporters that “the parent who has had their rights terminated can be licensed to foster their own child if they have resolved their issues.”
The new policy would be more lenient toward those who had committed crimes in the past—leading some foster parents to voice concerns over the rule change. It would also allow undocumented relatives to become licensed.
CYFD says it is extending the online period for public comment. New Mexico residents can email their comments to email@example.com
NM Gets Funding to Fight Opioid Crisis
Last week, the US Justice Department announced that it is awarding more than $3.8 million in grants to New Mexico state courts and county and tribal programs to combat opioid addiction.
The Associated Press reports that the grants will be used to coordinate emergency responders, police and health professionals who are responding to overdoses. They will also be used to improve adult treatment court programs and provide services to children affected by the opioid epidemic.
The DOJ is awarding more than $333 million in grants to communities across the nation specifically to fight against the opioid crisis.